While self-publishing has given authors and writers all the tools necessary to publish a quality ebook or paperback, there is one element that remains a stumbling block.
Getting a book to sell.
Book marketing is tough, hard work, competitive and cutthroat. If that’s not enough, it can also be very expensive.
Learning how to market and promote a book economically and effectively is a learning curve.
Of course, we all hear about the outliers that have got lucky such as Amanda Hocking and E L James, but these are rarities.
However in saying that, they didn’t achieve success without a lot of hard work either.
Self-published authors have no choice but to face up to the onerous task of promoting themselves.
However, traditional publishers are now cutting back on their book marketing budgets, so more and more of their authors are having to use social media to flog their wares. It’s becoming a level playing field.
What can you do to help market your self-published book?
1. Write a great book.
It may sound trite, but it’s the very first ingredient in getting a book to sell.
Knowing what readers will like isn’t easy, so don’t expect that just because you’ve written a book, that it will sell well. In my case, my favourite book of mine is my worst seller, so what would I know?
2. Social media is a must.
If no one knows about you or your book, how will readers find you?
Social networking is a ‘one thing leads to another‘ tool, so by continually expanding your contacts you help build your author brand.
3. Have more than one Twitter account.
Keep your personal account for interacting and adding a little marketing, but have one or two more that you can use for more direct marketing.
You always hear that people hate ‘spam‘ accounts on Twitter. Well, I have five accounts I regularly use for marketing only, with a combined following of over 100,000 so I don’t think the theory holds at all.
The more people who see your name, the better. The adage that any publicity is good publicity is very true.
Goodreads, AuthorDen, Shelfari or any others you find.
Also, use sites such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook.
All of these will add to your search engine listings and get your name ‘out there‘. Set up a Google Alert for your name so you can be notified whenever your name is listed on a new search engine entry.
5. Definitely, have a blog.
While a website is a useful central resource for information about an author and their books, a blog is much more dynamic and should be the conduit through which all book marketing is driven.
Having new blog posts circulated through a handful of social networks is a great way to expand your reach and attract new readers.
6. Use free ebooks to build ranking and gain reviews.
Free books should never be seen as giving away money.
They should be viewed as an introduction to your writing and your name to new readers, and the more, the better.
Even if an author has only one title, a free book offer can help build a base of readers for the second and third books.
I use Kindle’s KDP Select programme, and when I offer any of my titles for free, I’m pleased if 500 readers download the book.
I’m even happier when 5,000 do. And thrilled if 20,000 do. The more, the better.
7. Pay for some promotion, but within reason and your budget.
There are many options available to buy book advertising and promotion, and high traffic sites can boost exposure for your name and title.
I’ve used a few sites to promote my free ebooks on Kindle and have to say that the number of downloads increased dramatically.
8. Always be positive and never enter into conflict on any platform.
Arguing, criticising and being obnoxious are good routes to failure.
Never flare on the Internet as comments made in a temper will last forever on the Internet and tarnish your reputation.
Ignore bad reviews, nasty comments and trolls. Rise above their level, always.
9. Write another and even better book.
10. Manage your time.
Lastly, set yourself a time limit each day for marketing and don’t let it take over your life.
Two hours maximum because you have a family and more books to write.
It takes time and patience to promote a self-published book.
The starting point for any chance of book sales is a great story with high-quality book cover designs.
Then make sure your book’s sales pages on Amazon, in particular, are HTML optimized and complete.
You need a basic marketing strategy that will become a routine for you. Effective book promotion is always about looking at what you can do in both the short and long term.
Social media is one means you can use. But writing and publishing quality blog posts or guest posts can also be more effective over a longer period.
Related reading: Using questions to help you sell books